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No flights till Thursday lunchtime

AIR SPACE around Shetland continues to be a “no-fly’ zone with all Loganair flights cancelled until at least 1pm on Thursday.

A decision on whether the Scottish airline will be able to operate flights later in the day will be taken first thing in the morning.

Meanwhile the council’s chief emergency planner John Taylor said on Wednesday afternoon that the islands continued to cope “reasonably well” after seven days of almost no air traffic.

NorthLink’s shuttle service between Lerwick and Aberdeen commenced yesterday morning and is expected to continue until the weekend when the second vessel Hjaltland will be back in service.

Loganair’s commercial director Jonathan Hinkles said: “Loganair regrets to advise that all scheduled services until at least 1pm on Thursday have now been cancelled.

“The continued presence of significant levels of volcanic ash in many parts of Scottish airspace – including ‘no-fly’ zones ordered by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and National Air Traffic Services (NATS), which now cover Stornoway, Shetland and Orkney – and the forecast for tomorrow shows no material change for Loganair’s operations.”

Following another meeting of the Shetland emergency planning forum on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Taylor said that all services were working together to best alleviate the present situation.

He said the shuttle service provided by NorthLink had made a big difference as people were again starting to move.

“There are no serious problems within Shetland, in that patients are getting away for hospital, and all the agencies within the forum are having preparations in place to deal with minor irritations.

“She should be able to maintain a reasonable service throughout this incident. We are not concerned, because there is nothing that is life threatening.

“NorthLink are pulling out the stops to try to make up for the capacity lost in the air service.”

He called on everybody with concerns to contact their normal service provider be it the council, the health board or other.